April 26, 2005

Guy Kawasaki

I enjoy Guy Kawasaki's writing. An excerpt to think about:

"Play to win and win to play. Playing to win is one of the finest things you can do. It enables you to fulfill your potential. It enables you to improve the world and, conveniently, develop high expectations for everyone else too. And what if you lose? Just make sure you lose while trying something grand. Avinash Dixit, an economics professor at Princeton, and Barry Nalebuff, an economics and management professor at the Yale School of Organization and Management, say it this way: "If you are going to fail, you might as well fail at a difficult task. Failure causes others to downgrade their expectations of you in the future. The seriousness of this problem depends on what you attempt." In its purest form, winning becomes a means, not an end, to improve yourself and your competition. Winning is also a means to play again. The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the unlived life is not worth examining. The rewards of winning - money, power, satisfaction, and self-confidence - should not be squandered. Thus, in addition to playing to win, you have a second, more important obligation: To compete again to the depth and breadth and height that your soul can reach. Ultimately, your greatest competition is yourself."

He continues:

"Obey the absolutes. Playing to win, however, does not mean playing dirty. As you grow older and older, you will find that things change from absolute to relative. When you were very young, it was absolutely wrong to lie, cheat, or steal. As you get older, and particularly when you enter the workforce, you will be tempted by the 'system' to think in relative terms. 'I made more money.' 'I have a nicer car.' 'I went on a better vacation.' Worse, 'I didn't cheat as much on my taxes as my partner.' 'I just have a few drinks. I don't take cocaine.' 'I don't pad my expense reports as much as others.' This is completely wrong. Preserve and obey the absolutes as much as you can. If you never lie, cheat, or steal, you will never have to remember who you lied to, how you cheated, and what you stole."

Guy KawasakiPalo Alto High School Baccalaureate Speech 6/11/95